New Jersey might be among the smaller states in the US, but it still offers an abundance of species to hunt. Knowing when to hunt, though, is vital. Hunters also need to stick to the regulations set by the state on weapons and hunting zones. If you want to hunt in New Jersey, keep reading as we discuss everything you need to know.
Below you will find the various season start and end dates set for specific weapons. Keep in mind that dates are also specific to certain zones, and it is vital to check zone-specific dates before you go hunting.
|Archery||Sept. 10-30Oct. 1-Nov 27Jan. 1-Feb 18|
|Youth Archery||Sept. 24th|
|Firearms||Nov. 21-Feb. 11th|
|Six-Day Firearms||Dec 5th-10th|
|Muzzleloading||Nov. 21- Dec 31|
|Youth Firearms||Nov. 19|
Licensing and Regulations
Before you get out there and start hunting as the season starts, it’s important that you know the regulations associated with the zone you’re hunting in and that you have the relevant license to go with the weapon you are hunting with. Licenses will also vary in price depending on your age. For example, a youth hunting license for bow and arrow hunting is free. Here’s a short guide to how much your licenses will cost:
|Resident||Resident of NJ or NJ resident for less than six months.||$31|
|Special One-day Firearm||Must have passed an appropriate Hunter Education course in NJ or state of residence. Valid for harvesting any species covered by the preserve license||$12.50|
|Non-Resident License For Firearms||Non-resident of NJ or NJ resident for less than six months. |
Required in the year the hunter turns 17 and annually thereafter (for year-long licenses).
|Non-Resident License For Bow & Arrow||Non-resident of NJ or NJ resident for less than six months.||$135.50|
|Farmer License Exemption||No license or rifle permit is required for an Occupant Farmer or immediate family member of a hunting farm in which the farmer or immediate family member resides. |
Must have a Conservation Identification (CID) number.
|$0 (Must meet qualifications under NJ Farmland Assessment Act of 1964.)|
|Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader, or Permit Shotgun:||Antlerless, zone-specific permits are valid only in the Deer Management Zone and for the duration of the hunting season specified on the permit.||Youth: $12Adult (16+): $28|
|DRS Multi-Zone Permit (Permit Bow, Muzzleloader, or Shotgun)||Valid only for the Regulation Set (Set 7 OR 8) and duration of season specified for antlerless deer. (See pg. 40 for more information)||Youth: $24Adult: $56|
|Antlered Buck Permit Permit Bow, Permit Muzzleloader, or Permit Shotgun season||Valid in any zone for which a hunter has an antlerless zone-specific permit or DSR Multi-Zone Permit.||Youth: $12 Adult: $28|
Hunters also need to pay for various permits for what they want to hunt. In this case, if you want to hunt deer, you will need the permit and one for your weapon as well. Keep in mind that licenses and permits also work on residential bases. Non-residents of New Jersey will pay more to hunt in the state than those who live there. For more information on licensing, you can check the digest hunting guide for 2022-2023.
The bag limits for the deer season in New Jersey for all licenses and permits are limited to one antlered buck per season. In regards to hunters using, a fall bow or winter bow is prescribed for each zone. An overall rule is that once bow hunter has reached their bag limit in the zone they are hunting, they cannot exceed that regulation in other zones.
Below is a table with the weapon regulations you need to adhere to before hunting. For more information on these regulations, you can check the digest hunting guide linked above. Take note that the six-day fire-arm regulations are different to the standard season regulations.
|Season||Bows for Fall, Permit Bow, and Winter|
|Weapon type||You can use a long, recurving, compound, or crossbow.|
|Draw, Gauge, calibre||35 pounds pull at archer’s draw length (long and recurve bows) or peak weight (compound bow) or 75 pounds minimum draw weight (crossbow).|
|Projectile||Arrows must have a metal broadhead that is at least 34″ wide and sharpened. Only bows that can shoot a single arrow may be utilized.|
|Sights & releases||Devices that can be used with one hand are allowed. Any sight or gadget that shines a light on the deer is against the law.|
|Weapon Transportation||ALL bows MUST be unnotched or uncocked.|
|Weapon type||Muzzleloader is a single-shot, single-barrel rifle or smoothbore. There can be a flintlock, a percussion, or an in-line ignition.|
Electronic starters are not allowed by law. Guns with two barrels are not allowed.
Muzzleloader: single or double-barrel smoothbores only (no rifles.) Flintlock, percussion and in-line ignitions permitted.
|Draw, Gauge, calibre||Rifle: not less than .44 calibre. Smoothbore: not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge|
|Projectile||Must only be loaded with a single bullet.|
For Buckshot: projectiles can’t be smaller than #4 (0.24″) or bigger than #000 (0.36″), or there can only be one.
|Sights & releases||There were telescopic scopes. Only black powder or things that work like black powder can be used. Any sight or tool that shines a light on the deer is not allowed. Modern smokeless powder was made illegal.|
|Weapon Transportation||Muzzleloaders MUST be put in a case and emptied when in or on a vehicle, including an ATV or UTV. Unloaded indicates that the percussion cap has been taken off or that the pan is empty of powder and the frizzen has been covered.|
|Weapon type||Shotguns can have one or two barrels, a smoothbore or a rifled bore.|
|Draw, Gauge, calibre.||It can’t be smaller than 20 gauge or bigger than 10 gauge, and it can only hold up to three shells.|
|Projectile||Lead, lead alloy, copper, or copper rifled slug or sabot slug are used as slugs. Prohibited: Pumpkin BallsBuckshot: sizes must be between #4 (0.24″) and #000.(0.36″)|
|Sights & releases||Telescopic sights permitted. Shotguns must have an adjustable open iron or peep sight or a scope affixed if the hunter is hunting with or in possession of slugs. Prohibited: any sight or device that casts a beam|
|Weapon Transportation||Shotguns MUST be cased and unloaded while being transported in or on vehicles, including ATVs and UTVs|
What Types of Deer are popular in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, there are various kinds of deer that hunters and people who like animals want to watch. The white-tailed deer is the most common type of deer in New Jersey. They may be found all across the state in forests, farms, and even cities. People know the white-tailed deer by its white tail and reddish-brown coat. Check this link for more information on the white-tailed deer.
What else is Popular to Hunt in New Jersey?
The sika deer is another variety of deer that lives in New Jersey. It was brought to the state in the early 1900s and can now be seen in some places, especially on the eastern shore. The sika deer is smaller than the white-tailed deer and has a brown coat with white patches.
As an avid hunter, we are sure you are excited to get out there for the season. Make sure you check all rules and regulations regarding your weapon, hunting zones, permits, and licenses before you go on the hunt.